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driving a car to mexico that will STAY in mexico


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#1 GueraKristina

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 08:01 PM

Hi, i know that this whole website is for and about Cozumel, but i got referred to this website by a member from visajourney.com because my question was not being answered appropriatly. i am wondering what the requirements are for driving, registering and leaving a U.S bought car periminantly in mexico? My husband and i are driving to mexico, but transporting a friends vehicle for his family, the vehicle will stay there when the trip is done. The car will be drivin to about 45 minutes outside of Mexico City, between mexico city and toluca. My husband has gotten information and 'phone numbers' from previously used 'offices' by other mexicans that have also transported vehicles, but he is weary about using them b/c he thinks that they are 'legal but illegal' like the documentation is legal, but the people administering it is not el aduana or costums or directly related to the government. (he called one of the numbers, late at night, around 8pm there and a women picked up with a baby crying in the background, she assured that this was the right number and that they would do the vehicle papers, but that we would have to wait till we were at the 'office', and wait 7-8 hrs for them to be processed and ready. Long story short, MY QUESTION IS does anybody know the process, steps or numbers to contact and documentation needed for crossing an american vehicle into mexico where it will remain and NOT come back to te U.S? Thanks for your help -Kristina
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#2 Charles

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 09:34 PM

Your friend needs to drive his own car. You'll never make it across the border, let alone make it to D.F. You might try contacting your local Mexican Consulate http://www.sre.gob.mx/filadelfia/ who might take the time to refer you to proper Mexican government sites. You can get some information regarding the requirements to temporarily import a vehicle, but again, the driver will need to be the owner. http://www.aduanas.g.../141_10028.html You need to communicate with Mexican governmental websites and officials as it all pertains to Mexican law.
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#3 GueraKristina

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 09:46 PM

Thanks for the links I will check them out, however I know we can drive the car to mexico city, people transport other peoples vehicles for them all the time here in PA but they also use these shady methods. My husbands only concern was to see if there were other methods that were faster and more official,
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#4 Steve

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:51 AM

This is from Rollybrook's website and might help you.

http://rollybrook.co...e_to_mexico.htm



You can take your vehicle, but there are rules...

The following information applies only to mainland México. The rules for Baja are different. Vehicle permits are not required in Baja. Foreign license plates must be kept current in Baja.

Before we talk about the paperwork requirements, lets consider a frequently asked question: Should I bring my USA car or should I buy a Mexican car after I arrive? There is no universal answer to the question, so here are some pros and cons to consider:

USA or CANADIAN PLATES

Pro:
1. After paying the small permit fee at the border, there will never again be any government fees to pay.
2. You can let your foreign plates and insurance expire, so you don't have those expenses.
3. Mexican auto insurance costs less for your car than for a comparable Mexican car. (Why? is one of life's great mysteries.)

Con:
1. You cannot sell the car in México.
2. There are restrictions on who may drive the car.
3. Some repair parts may not be available and must be ordered from the USA or Canada.
4. With expired plates, it will be very difficult, probably impossible, to drive the car back to the North even for a short visit without re-registering and re-insuring in the USA or Canada.
5. Many people believe that foreign plates attract the attention of crooked cops looking for a mordita.

MEXICAN PLATES

Pro:
1. No restriction on who may drive the car.
2. Repair parts are probably readily available.
3. You can sell the car in México.
4. If you want to go back for a visit, you can drive the car through the USA and Canada with the Mexican plates and easily available trip insurance. However, there is a catch -- if you have an official residence in the USA, you will not be allowed to drive the car into the USA. How this can be enforced is a mystery to me.

Con:
1. The car will cost more than the same car NoB.
2. Insurance will cost more than with foreign plates.
3. There are annual registration fees and taxes. Some of the taxes disappear after the car is 10 years old.
4. While you can drive the car North for a visit, you cannot import it, i.e. get NoB plates for the car. If you move back NoB you will need to sell the car in México.

Vehicle means car, pickup, motor home and trailer.

You can import only one vehicle in your name. If you have a spouse, or of-age children, each of them can register a car. The car does not have to be in the name of the person registering it, but the actual owner must be present or you must have a letter of permission from the owner -- more about this in item #1 below.

There is an exception to the one vehicle rule. If you are driving an RV motor home and towing a car, you will be allowed to register both in the same name; you no longer will need a second person to register the car. You can also get a 10-year permit for the motor home. This new rule does not apply to pickup campers.

A trailer does not count as a vehicle, but you will need ownership papers. The trailer will be listed on your vehicle permit which means that it must be taken out of the country when you take your car out. You cannot sell it or leave it behind in México.

If you have motorcycles, ATVs, and other types of single passenger vehicles being carried in your truck or being towed, these may be registered as part of the vehicle carrying/towing them. There are restrictions, look here.

The permit that you will get is for the temporary importation of the vehicle. You must remove the vehicle when you leave permanently. You cannot sell it in México. If you leave México permanently, or when the permit expires (FMM), be sure to stop at the car office at the border to turn in your permit and to allow them (not you!) to scrape the sticker off your windshield. Be damn sure to get a receipt showing that you turned in your permit. Keep that receipt, and bring it with you if you ever bring another car back to México, because if their computer says you still have a car in México, you will not be allowed to bring in another, and you will be in trouble for having a car in country with an expired permit. Show them the receipt if you have a problem. If you really do have a car still in México, you'll be in a bunch of trouble. The Mexican government is very gung-ho on the car thing. Imported car tracking is completely computerized across the country and connected to a central data base. See note #9 below for more on returning the car permit.

It is now possible to get your registration/permit papers and windshield sticker sent to you by express before you make your trip. This allows you to skip the car registration process at the border. You must allow at least 10 days for the material to be sent to you by UPS (hence street address is required, no post office boxes). To learn more about this option, click here.

It is also possible to do the complete registration and get your paper and windshield sticker at some Mexican Consulates in the USA. To learn more about this option, click here.

Here's what you'll need if you register at the border:

1. Proof of ownership: The Mexican authorities want to be sure that you own the vehicle, so bring your title or registration papers or sales invoice if you recently purchased the car and don't yet have other papers.. If the vehicle is not paid for, you must have a notarized letter from your lien-holder (bank, finance company, etc) granting you permission to bring the vehicle into México. There should be a copy of the title, or the VIN number should be included in the letter. If the car is owned by someone else, or jointly owned by you and someone else, who is not with you, you will need a notarized letter from him/her granting you permission to bring the car into México; include the VIN in the letter.

2. Drivers license: must be valid and non-Mexican

3. A credit card or check/debit card with a Visa or MasterCard logo, other cards are not accepted --: The card must be in the name of the person registering the car -- read this sentence again to be sure you understand this iron-clad rule. There will be a charge of about US$27 made to your card for the permit. If you don’t have a card, you can post a refundable cash bond of something like $400 – there is a sliding scale determined by the age of the vehicle. There is a persistent myth that your credit card acts as a bond that you will take your car out of México, and that if you don't, your card will be charged. This is just not true.

4. Passport.

5. FMM, FM3 or FM2

6. You will need two Xerox copies of the ownership and license as well as the picture pages of your passport and visa (FMM, FM3 or FM2).

7. If you are a married or divorced lady with some documents showing your married name and others with your unmarried name, you will need documents proving that you are all these names. Your marriage certificate is usually enough.

8. Your permit is for temporary use of your car in México. The permit is good as long as your visa is valid. That includes renewals of your FM#. Information about renewals is given on the page Living in México.

An FMM is good for no more than 180 days. After that time, you must return to the border to get a new one along with a new vehicle permit.

If you enter México with an FMM and while in country convert to an FM3 or FM2, you will NOT be required to get a new car permit. Your original registration continues to be valid so long as your new FM# is valid. If you posted a cash bond when you entered with an FMM, you will need to tell Aduana (Customs) of your changed status. Look here for instructions.

Look here to see the actual law that says your registration permit is valid so long as your visa is valid. Article 106 It also tells who can drive your car.

8. Liability insurance is required in some states and not in others. You’d be crazy to drive in México without it. If you have an accident in México without insurance, the damage to your car is likely to be the least of your problems as you and/or your car sit in jail – no matter who was at fault – while the authorities sort out what happened, and until you and the other party come to an agreement on damages and injuries. This could take days. Get insurance!! There is more on this subject on the Automobile Insurance page.

9. There has been a rule change effective in November 2006. You can no longer drive your car in and out of México without changing your permit. Under the new rule, any time you drive out of México, you must stop at the car office at the border to turn in your car permit and to allow them to scrape the sticker off your windshield. DO NOT remove the sticker yourself! Be very sure to get a receipt showing that you turned in the permit, and bring it with you when you return in case the computer doesn't show that you turned it in.

Remember, if you brought in a trailer, it has to go out with your car.

You will need to get a new permit when you return, so be sure to take the ownership papers with you.

If, for what ever reason, you fail to turn in the permit when you exit the country, you will have to return to the border in that car with the sticker still in place to get it off the computer record. You don't have to do it right away; it can be the next time you visit México. There is, at this time in 2010, no fine or other hassle. But you must return in the same car with the sticker still on the windshield.

There is more information about living in México with your car in the page Living in México.

The Mexican government is very strict about the car rules. Don't expect to squeak by if you have not followed all the rules.

If your husband is a Mexican citizen

If you are married to a Mexican who is employed in México, you may qualify as an ama de casa (housewife). This allows you to get an FM2 or FM3 without having to show an income from outside México. Go to your local INM office to get instructions.

You will need your birth certificate with an apostille and your marriage certificate. If you were married outside México, your certificate will need an apostille and should be registered at city hall before going to INM.
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#5 Coz2wonder

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:14 AM

As you have pointed out "people transport other peoples vehicles for them all the time here in PA but they also use these shady methods"

The reason for the "shady methods" COULD be viewed by the police as transporting a stolen vehicle. If/When you are stopped, you can not prove you own the vehicle, nor will any document from the owner PROVE you where given permission to drive that vehicle.

Also, consider the issue with foreign platted vehicles being used in the drug trade. They are packed, and sent back across the boarder. That is not your intentions, but it would be a obvious consideration by the police.

You want to do a favor for a friend, but that favor, as innocent as it is, could be viewed by the police as something completely different, and you have no way to prove otherwise.

I would suggest that the owner either drive it themselves, or ship it down via cargo by boat, or by a road hauler.
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#6 Kandy

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:35 AM

OK. In a different forum and thread, I had asked about purchasing a used car and the implications of not yet having the FM3. Now, having read the above, it appears the title can be signed, I pay for the vehicle, I can DRIVE the vehicle, then register and renew plates after getting the FM3. Am I reading this correctly?
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#7 Coz2wonder

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:55 AM

Kandy, if it is foreign plated car, the title change needs to take place in the NA, and put into your name.

At the boarder, you will be given an importation sticker.

To KEEP the car here, you need an FM3. Otherwise, it needs to go out of the country when your tourist visa expirers...max 180 days. That is my understanding.

email Gisela our lawyer to get the facts as they apply to Cozumel.

Gisela's email address is: cozumex@prodigy.net.mx
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#8 Antonio123

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:40 AM

I need definitive clarification about what is legal and what is not legal when it comes to foreign plated cars in Cozumel. I brought my truck here with Texas license plates in July of 2009 with the applicable Mexican sticker which I realize is valid for only 180 days which, of course, has now expired. I keep copies of my truck title, truck insurance (Mexican), my FM3 and my U.S. passport in the vehicle at all times. Yet, I often hear from ex-pats living on the island that I am driving illegally and that I have to drive across the border every 180 days to get a new sticker or, if stopped by the Mexican police, I will be heavily fined, my truck will be impounded and it will cost me several thousand dollars to get it back. Others advise that I am legal. Since I'm still not sure, I do as little driving as possible and with not just a little trepidation. My thanks to anyone who can "defog" my mind on this issue.
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#9 Coz2wonder

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:49 AM

well, the other day I was stopped...I have an FM2. My foreign plated vehicle has all the current documentation, title, insurance, current tags from California, plus copies of my FM2 to show the police...

They DEMANDED that I have a Mexican Divers license...I knew I did not need a Mx license, but to make things simple, and upon THEIR REQUEST I paid $40p's to BUY then "cokes"

This happened on Juarez and 40th...

I might add, there was a fellow (not going to name) who was American, who purchased a US plated car. He was stopped, could not show that the title of the vehicle was in his name. He was arrested, and spent a few day in jail, until he was bailed out.

You can NOT change titles of foreign vehicles here....
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#10 Kandy

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 03:54 PM

Just to clarify my situation, the vehicle I'm buying has Mexican plates, was purchased on the island, and is still on the island. It was purchased by an ex-pat who has an FM-3.
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#11 Jim912

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:55 PM

We have brought two cars down. One was in my wife's name and the other in mine. I had to show marriage license, title, etc. at the border and had no problem getting a vehicle visa in my name good for 180 days.

Once on the island, Donna and I made a trip to Purta Juarez. It cannot be done on the island as far as I know. You have to drive the vehicle to the inspection station and the offical takes a picture of your sticker and VIN number.

My vehicle visa was cancelled and a new one issued in Donna's name with her FM3. We did this four years ago. For the first two years we made the annual trip and got the sticker renewed. After the second trip the gentleman at Aduana told us that as long as her FM3 was valid she did not have to get a new sticker each year.

Last summer I drove a new car down and we made the same trip and got the vehicle changed to her name and her FM3.
And this same gentleman again verifed what he had told us before. I drove the old vehicle back to the border and cancelled the old expired visa with absolutely no problem.

We have copies of FM3, passports, driver's licenses, Article 106, title in English and Spanish and Mexican insurance all in a binder in the car.

As far as the US plates, I scraped off the expiration sticker so there is no way to tell the plates are expired. I also scraped the MVI sticker off the windshield. No one can prove they are expired. We drive the car all over the place and have never had a problem.
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#12 Charles

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:14 PM

People that need legal advice, need to talk to an attorney, not to seek non-professional advice on a forum. Paula listed one such qualified attorney:

email Gisela our lawyer to get the facts as they apply to Cozumel.

Gisela's email address is: cozumex@prodigy.net.mx

There is Mexican law, law that pertains to Quintana Roo and then whatever happens to be in vogue in Cozumel for that particular month. They all should be compatible and consistent, but Cozumel has a long standing history of being very irregular. That is why a qualified attorney from the island is recommended. Since the new regulations went into effect this year regarding FM3s & FM2s, the changes were suppose to bring consistency and uniformity.

There were times in recent history that people could buy Mexican plated vehicles on FMTs (now FMMs) and there were more recent times when you couldn't buy one with less than a FM2. Boy I would have liked an opinion from the Federal Attorney General on that one!

To someone with an FM3 and a foreign plated vehicle which may not be covered under the FM3, I'd sure run or take a taxi to the quickest available attorney (but NOT drive). You may have more than just confiscation of vehicle and deportation at risk, get a legal opinion from a knowledgeable attorney and fix it!

To the original poster, they were talking about doing something "shady", "shady" means illegal. I don't know what network they may have had proximity to in Philadelphia or what system people may have been exploiting, but since Calderon involved the military in the "war on drugs" there are potentially a whole lot more military check points to go through where papers will be closely examined. It would not be as simple as bribe your way across the border. As mentioned as a part of the drug war, military and law enforcement are looking for stolen vehicles from the States, vehicles involved with smuggling arms to Mexico and foreign plated vehicles loaded with drugs headed to north of the border.

It was my understanding that if you had a FM3 or FM2, you were required to have a Mexican drivers license. That may or may not have been Mexican law. It may or may not have changed if indeed it was the case. It was a pain in the ass as the license had to be renewed with each FM3 renewal, the FM2 license was good for two years. Since there was always lag time between when your papers were submitted and returned completed, without fail, you would have several weeks expire on your drivers license until the renewed credential was in hand to get a new drivers license. I was in the first group that was required to take a defensive driving course and written test before renewing their drivers license, a test that initially 30% of the people were failing from the poor literacy rate among adults. Again, seek advice from an up to date professional, but hopefully, consistency in application of the law will become more of a norm.
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#13 Antonio123

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:27 PM

Your information is very helpful. I also have a copy of Article 106 Customs Law (in English and Spanish) in my vehicle along with copies of title, passport, FM3, and Mexican insurance. I was concerned about my expired tags causing me trouble. I'll scrape them off in the morning, hadn't thought of that. Being the sole responsible party of myself and dependent son, I want everything in order should I get stopped and questioned during the frequent traffic checks here. Excellent advise. Thank you.
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#14 Antonio123

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:54 PM

Charles, since my deceased husband was a municipal attorney for over 20 years, serving as city attorney of San Antonio, TX for over ten years and city attorney of Killeen, TX during the time periods before and after his service to the city of San Antonio, and the president of City Attorneys' Association of Texas for many years, I clearly understand the importance of having an attorney. Thank you anyway for educating me and all the other little "people" who should seek casual advise from members of this discussion forum.
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#15 eaton53

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:57 PM

What I want to know is how do I get a Chevy Tornado into the U.S.???
Not really serious. I just really like those little car-trucks and wish they sold 'em here...
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#16 kevinjones

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 12:23 AM

The price of petrol is roughly the same throughout the whole of Mexico, with slight variations nearer to the borders. Credit cards are rarely accepted at Mexican petrol stations, so carry some cash with you.The FMT is a simple one page immigration form for tourists and short stay visitors. It asks for your name, identification, how long you are staying and where you are staying.
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